Movin' on up: How these 6 techies rose through the ranks of their companies

by Katie Fustich
March 27, 2018

One of the most exciting things about tech culture is the ability to learn and grow with a company. Roles are rarely stagnant, and an individual often has the opportunity to build their role up and out. Built In NYC spoke with employees from the startup world who have risen through the ranks at their companies to learn all about their transformations, and the infinite possibilities in the tech universe.

Shutterstock
image via shutterstock

At media marketplace Shutterstock, Manager of Business Process Operations Anna Vilarnau has learned the company from bottom to top in her four-year tenure. Shutterstock’s culture of mentorship and education have helped employees and the company grow together.

 

How long have you been with Shutterstock, and how has your position evolved in that time?

I've been at Shutterstock for a little over four years. I started working as a customer care and sales agent, supporting the Spanish and English markets. After two years, I transitioned into product operations, thanks to the support of my manager and the VP of the global customer care team. During my time on that team, I've had the pleasure of collaborating with passionate and inspiring product owners and engineers across the company.

After two years on that team, I was recently offered the business process operations manager role that I'm currently in today. Now, with the goal of delivering a frictionless workflow to our frontline teams, I’m focused on improving existing processes and defining new ones for both Shutterstock customers and contributors. I feel fortunate to have supportive managers and leaders who recognize my work and potential.

 

What is it about working at your company that keeps you wanting to grow here?

My team and co-workers motivate me every day. I have the opportunity and pleasure of being surrounded by talented, strong professionals that not only have guided and supported me through different projects but also trusted me with increasing responsibility. I feel honored.

 

Dataminr
image via dataminr

Sometimes, a company can take your career in a direction you never dreamed of. At least that’s what happened to Dataminr’s Director of Corporate Security Sales, Ed Monan.

 

How long have you been with the company, and how has your position evolved in that time?

I never thought I would end up in sales. When I joined Dataminr three and a half years ago, I started out as an in-house content expert. When the opportunity to join and help build a brand new vertical arose, I moved into our corporate security sales team. Flash forward two and a half years, and I'm now leading a team of nine in our fastest growing vertical.

 

What is it about working at your company that keeps you wanting to grow at Dataminr?

I joined Dataminr because helping our clients respond to public safety events was meaningful to me. From working with first responders to security operations centers, our critical alerts are getting into the right hands at the right time so our clients can make faster decisions.

On top of that, I have the chance to work with talented people who are committed to building a company that is disrupting the way breaking events are discovered. If my role has evolved this much in just three and a half years, I’m excited to see what the next few years will bring.

 

JW Player
image via facebook

When Product Designer Nicole Boettcher joined JW Player, the company looked far different (i.e. smaller) than it does today. Having seen a handful of iterations and operated in a variety of roles, Boettcher shares the joys of participating in these evolutions.

 

How long have you been with the company and how has your position evolved in that time?

I've worked at JW Player for over five years. I started in an administrative capacity when we were only 20-25 people. As the company grew, and our needs changed, I took on more responsibilities and became the de facto HR person, IT person, and I even oversaw a couple office renovations.

I was in design school at night during all of this. When school ended, I saw an opportunity to stay within JW Player, moving to a new department with a fresh start as a designer. I started spending half of my time on marketing projects and half on product design, and as we scaled up the product team, I specialized in UX and UI for our customer-facing dashboard. Recently, I switched product stacks and I'm designing for our video player itself, with a new focus that we're calling 'Audience Experiences'.

 

What is it about working at your company that keeps you wanting to grow at JW Player?

My favorite thing at JWP has been not just growth, but change. The technology changes, our customer expectations change, our company changes to reflect that, and we all have to change to adapt. Collectively, it ripples out: we can affect the company culture and values of the organization with our own ideas and initiatives.

 

Updater
image via updater

Just as Updater tackles every aspect of the moving process, Senior Product Manager Gretchen Altman has evolved through numerous roles at the company. She said it’s fun technical challenges, inspiring co-workers and (of course) office dogs that keep her coming back for more.

 

How long have you been with the company and how has your position evolved in that time?

I'm coming up on six years with Updater and my role has grown with the company. When I started, I was in an operations role wearing many hats. I was involved with customer experience, quality assurance, and even event planning — you name it, I did it. As our team and user base grew, I began to shift my focus to customer experience.

Then, when we found ourselves entering the relocation industry and welcomed new clients (brokerages, property management companies, etc.) in addition to the consumers who are moving and using Updater, I transitioned into a client success role. Recently, I took a step back and evaluated my time and experiences at Updater, and felt that I was perfect for a product role. We had an opening on our product team at the time, and the rest is history. It's been quite a journey!

 

What is it about working at your company that keeps you wanting to grow at Updater?

Where to start? I learn something new every day, so I'm never bored. My co-workers are supportive, passionate and committed. I wouldn't have been able to grow as much as I have without this team. I'd be a fool if I didn't mention our amazing perks including trips, team lunches, unlimited PTO and Pupdater (our team of office dogs). Life is good.

 

IEX Trading
image via iex

When you’ve been with a company since before its launch, you will have unique insights into the company’s growth and potential. When Ramon Gonzalez, IEX’s head of system reliability engineering, joined the firm, the company had just a quarter of its current staff. Gonzalez explained to Built In NYC the experience of evolving alongside a company.

 

How long have you been with the company, and how has your position evolved in that time?

When I joined in May of 2013, IEX was only about 20 people and hadn’t launched yet. At that stage, I was working across all of our technology efforts, from setting up mobile devices and resetting passwords, to racking servers and infrastructure to building the trading system itself. As the company has grown and developed, my role has become more focused, and I’ve taken on a leadership role in engineering the trading system and supporting the infrastructure around it.

 

What is it about working at your company that keeps you wanting to grow at IEX?

There are a lot of awesome qualities about IEX that keep me excited about working here, especially the people, type of work, and the interesting challenges. You usually find one of these attributes, maybe even some combination of two, at other organizations.

However, at IEX, I’ve been lucky enough to bring all of the qualities that I look for together. We are lucky enough to have a phenomenal group of people that thoroughly enjoy working with each other. And in terms of the work itself, we’re dealing with interesting tech problems and all believe that we are making a real, positive difference in the financial markets.

 

LiveLike
image via livelike

Though he is now LiveLike’s Lead Software Engineer, Willis Pinaud began his time with the virtual reality company as an intern. He credits the superb mentorship opportunities for his rise to a leadership role, and his continued desire to grow with the sports technology company.

 

How long have you been with the company, and how has your position evolved in that time?

I've been at LiveLike for two years. I began as a software engineering intern, back when there were only three engineers on the dev team. I quickly grew from a beginner in C# programming to becoming proficient in the language due to the volume of work. As the company continued to succeed and business demands grew, I became a point of reference for front-end related questions and someone the team turned to during large productions with clients.

After six months, I was hired full-time. After, I helped our CTO build our tech roadmap and soon had an opportunity to get involved in managing others. I do my best to enable everybody a chance to flourish, just as I had been given the opportunity and support to do so.
 

What is it about working at your company that keeps you wanting to grow at LiveLike?

First of all, the style of my manager and LiveLike’s CTO, Saswat Panda. Saswat continually pushes me to the front row. He trusts me; I am certain that's what has enabled me to develop as quickly as I have over the past couple of years. Second, the timing and opportunity I received at LiveLike. The company began scaling as I was setting the foundation for my various skill sets. It's been a natural evolution; the more the company expanded, so did my responsibilities and talents.

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